Intended for healthcare professionals


Number of patients waiting 18 weeks for treatment in England passes three million

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 10 February 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p332
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. The BMJ

More than three million patients waited longer than 18 weeks for treatment in England in December, the highest number on record, show data for the NHS in England. In November 2022 a total of 2 902 274 waited 18 weeks or longer, and in December this figure rose to 3 051 661, the data on referral to treatment times show.1

Despite the government’s commitment to cut extremely long waits, with a target to eliminate NHS waits of over 18 months entirely by April 2023, the number of patients waiting at least 18 months rose from 48 961 in November 2022 to 54 882 in December. Overall in England 7.2 million patients await treatment.

Figures also show that in 2022’s final quarter 21 273 operations were cancelled on the day of the procedure for non-clinical reasons and that 4593 of these patients were not treated within 28 days of their cancellation, in a breach of the standard.2 …

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